Archive for February, 2010


February 25, 2010

Inaudible teamed up with Headphone Commute and scored an interview with Kompakt Records founder and electronic music legend Wolfgang Voigt to discuss Kompakt’s latest Pop Ambient collection, the infamous Cologne sound, and his work as Gas!

I am new to this whole interview thang, and realized afterwards that my questions kind of suck because they don’t allow room for much elaboration, but hey . . . I’m learning and still pretty damn happy with it.

Please click here to check it out.

Big thanks to ML from Headphone Commute for making it happen!

And thanks to Mr. Voigt for taking the time to answer the questions!

Tortoise at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

February 20, 2010

18 February 2010

Post-rock darlings Tortoise played to a packed house at Lee’s Palace on Thursday night in Toronto and effortlessly showed the crowd why they are one of the best bands in the business. Playing choice tracks from their extensive repertoire, they had us hanging on every note, synth line, and cymbal crash — and I gotta say, the crowd at Lee’s was one of the most agreeable Toronto audiences I’ve experienced in recent memory. Strangers cheered and slapped each other five, all of us momentarily morphing into a contented collective that was simply enraptured by Tortoise’s good vibes.

Tortoise are professional musicians that love what they do, and it’s wonderfully apparent on stage, as they’re grooving and smiling and rocking out a fabulously tight set. With two drum kits up front, and synths, Vibraphone, guitars, and an electronic xylophone set up around them, the quintet played tracks from their latest release “Beacons of Ancestorship”, and fed the crowd hits from “TNT” and “Standards”. They came out for two encores and ended with one of my all time faves, “Glass Museum”. It was an emotional, nostalgic, and mature set that never failed to impress. Simply put, you can’t go wrong seeing these guys.

Tortoise and I have a long history together. I have been with them since the beginning. I’ve seen them play live 7 or 8 times. I saw them at The Magic Stick in Detroit for their “Millions Now Living” tour way back when, where they showed up on stage silent like automatons with little headlamps and played “Djed” in its entirety. Jeff Parker wasn’t even with them yet. And now over a decade later, they’ve only gotten tighter and classier at their craft, and it’s amazing that at the same time they remind me of good times and great memories from the past, they’re also launching me into this new and bright decade. Love ’em.


Pop Ambient 2010 (Kompakt)

February 14, 2010

Kompakt Records kicks off the new year with the tenth installment in its annual Pop Ambient series — a decade of densely layered drones, tones, and sounds, showcasing the best artists making music in modern classical and ambient genres. The compilation is curated each year by label head and music legend, Wolfgang Voigt (aka Gas), and has basically been a staple in my morning and late evening playlists for an entire decade.

The musical discoveries I have made because of this yearly comp are unparalleled — over the years the series has acted as a who’s who in forward thinking electronic compositions that aren’t concerned with beats, bass, or the dancefloor. Artists like Marsen Jules, Klimek, Andrew Thomas, Markus Guentner, Donnacha Costello, Triola, and Thomas Fehlmann have all been mainstays throughout the decade long series, and all artists I respect and adore.

The opening track for the 2010 edition starts with quite possibly the best Marsen Jules track I have ever heard. The aptly titled “The Sound of One Lip Kissing” sweeps from right to left channel and builds around a single dark and reverberating chord that is accompanied by the hesitant tinkle of piano to amazing effect. Brock Van Whey is welcomed into the Pop Ambient family this year and lulls listeners with two beautiful tracks under his bvdub moniker. “Lest You Forget” follows the opening track and offers a sense of air and light, after Marsen Jules’ somewhat ominous beginning. Van Whey also closes the album with the sprawling “Will You Know Where to Find Me”. It features haunting vocals and rich delay that peacefully dissipates as the 17-minute track comes to an end, leaving you calmed and happily brooding.

Kompakt’s own Dettinger, returns with “Therefore”, his first new song in nearly a decade — a smooth and droney track that features a slight hi-hat shuffle buried deep in the mix. Label head, Wolfgang Voigt also shows up with the excellent “Zither und Horn”, which sounds like nothing I’ve heard from him before. It’s a pastoral and string-based track that feels more traditionally “song-like” in its composition, and much different than his work as Gas. Offerings from DJ Koze, The Orb, and Jürgen Paape are equally as strong, and overall, this is another sterling edition to an already fantastic oeuvre of ambient music.

Check out ten years of the smooove stuff. Peace.


February 7, 2010

The train accelerates after Chatham—steady, galloping, equine—the passengers within docile riders ready to unhorse. Eager to get off train #67 in Windsor, the last stop on VIA Rail’s Corridor run.

“Are you gonna give Daddy a hug, Mommy? Will you give him a kiss?”
“We’ll see.”
“But you said—”
“Enough, Evan.”
“But you said.”
“Shhh, the man across from us is trying to sleep. We’re almost home.”

I lift an eyelid. She looks drained, siphoned—her boy has been pretty good, but still he’s sapped her spirits.

The iron horse hammers home, racing the rigs on the 401 through Tilbury and Belle River. Evan presses his nose against the glass, peering out at Lake St. Clair in the gathering dusk.

“Look, Mommy! The lake’s like a hockey rink!”
“I see it, sweetie.”

She reaches into her pocket, pulls out a gold band and slips it on her finger. She holds out her hand, inspecting. She doesn’t smile. Finally I realize who she looks like. She’s a blonde Sandra Bullock—but not Keanu’s cutesy bus driving sidekick in Speed, she’s the sullen thin-lipped wife of Brendan Fraser in Crash.

She closes her eyes and spins the ring on her finger.

I stare at her profile and Evan’s face-smear on the window and think about my flight this morning from Edmonton, stuck in a holding pattern over Pearson airport before it landed. I picture the plane doing quiet figure eights over and over in the sky above the snow clouds. I picture it suspended in air, and think of how my Mom had been in a holding pattern herself—lying in her hospital bed, not getting any better or worse for months, until her plane decided to swiftly descend.

And which one’s better? The airplane looping round waiting for the all-clear to land, or the train careening headlong to its last stop?

We’re almost in Tecumseh now. The town’s been lobbying for the trains to slow down ever since a young girl was struck and killed on the railway in 1996. But instead it charges ever faster, Tecumseh a scant blip on the radar, as the machine lunges towards the final stop. I still can’t imagine how that little girl didn’t hear the train coming. I spent entire summers as a kid leaving pennies on the tracks behind Tranby Park, waiting for the afternoon train to come by and flatten them. And long before it did, the rail would vibrate and make a sound like far-off sleigh bells.

“This is how you should hug Daddy!” Evan shouts, latching his bony arms around his mother’s neck, a mini bear hug, a schoolboy stranglehold.

Mommy catches my eye as the train finally begins to brake and the nearness of home wrings my stomach. I still can’t get over how much she looks like Sandra Bullock, and wish my Mom had resembled a movie star when I was Evan’s age.

Recently published in Misunderstandings Magazine

Elsewhere on the Interwebs

February 5, 2010

INAUDIBLE has expanded a touch as of late and is now writing music reviews for Juno Records. Click on the album covers to check ’em out. The Scuba mix is dope and the new Pantha du Prince is fucking fantastique!

               Scuba – Sub:stance                      Pantha du Prince

I also had the pleasure of doing an interview with Rameses III and reviewed the band’s latest album “I Could Not Love You More” for Headphone Commute. Click on the cover to magically take you there. And thanks for reading everyone.

Rameses III

Pantha du Prince – Black Noise

February 3, 2010


Hendrik Weber aka Pantha du Prince returns with his follow-up to the much acclaimed “This Bliss” avec “Black Noise” and it does not disappoint. With chimes and marimba acting as aural touchstones throughout, “Black Noise” shows the further evolutions of Weber’s melodic-robotic dichotomy and his penchant for deep and infectious bass. And speaking of infectious, “Stick To My Side”, Weber’s collaboration with Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox will leech itself into your memory banks and have you humming and singing it for days. It’s a truly great crossover hit that is just as groovy as it is catchy, and will no doubt help Pantha gain some new listeners.

Beyond that, tracks like “The Splendour”, “A Nomad’s Retreat”, and “Satellite Sniper” are amazing 4/4 burners that build carefully and envelop you in lush tones and Detroit-tinged techno beats. There’s much more warmth to “Black Noise” than “This Bliss”, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of The Field’s second album in its execution and musical aesthetic.

Weber seems a bit of a Byronic Romantic. The concept of the album stems from a trip to the Swiss Alps with some musician friends to record sounds and philosophize about music, technology, and silence. Next door to where they were staying was an enormous pile of debris, the remains of a landslide that had buried an entire village, and this is where the album’s concept was born – with the notion that ‘black noise’ is heard like a sonic omen before a natural disaster.

The second half of the album is more sedate, yet still no less compelling. The last two tracks “Im Bann” and “Es Schneit” are warm and melodic come down tracks, “Es Schneit” working those chimes into a subtle frenzy before dissipating like smoke in the air. “Black Noise” is another excellent release from Pantha du Prince, and another great electronic album for 2010. Dig it.